How quickly could you evacuate?

Posted at 7:30 PM, Jun 07, 2013

RICHMOND, Va - On average, people who evacuate their homes due to tornadoes or hurricanes only have 10-15 minutes to pack their things before they leave, according the American Red Cross.

Hurricane season is already here, and the remnants of Tropical Storm Andrea are moving across Virginia.  The potential for severe weather is very real this time of year.

For that reason, the American Red Cross is urging Virginians to make sure they are prepared in case evacuations are necessary.  Jonathan McNamara with the Virginia Capitol Region of the American Red Cross said it's important to have certain critical items already packed up and ready to go.

Simple things like keeping important documents in a readily accessible folder or having an emergency kit packed will save time if you must rush out the door, McNamara said.

The American Red Cross provides a full list of what you may want to consider packing in case of an evacuation on their website:

  • Water—one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
  • Food—non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Map(s) of the area

CBS 6 put a local woman to the test to see how well she could pack her family up for a potential evacuation.  Cortney Carroll lives in Short Pump with her husband and two children, ages four and five.

In 10 minutes, Carroll zoomed around her house grabbing things like clothing, medication, and toiletries.  When she was finished, a six-foot wide pile of bags sat in her kitchen.

"I think Cortney did amazing," said McNamara, after he examined the stuff that Carroll packed up.

Flash lights, address books, clothing, and medication all made it into Carroll's pile, which is good according to McNamara.

The big thing missing was key pieces of documentation; like passports, medical records, and even the deed their home, McNamara said.

Carroll said she will now be sure to have certain items ready to go and will speak with her family about their evacuation plan.

"Extra stuff we don't need on a regular basis, we might as well have it around to be prepared," said Carroll.